One of the most popular sizes for studio monitors is the fabled 5-inch. Due to their popularity, these monitors are among the most abundant on the market, catering towards the ever-increasing number of home studios and sound engineers and mixers in the industry.
We’re here to help you select the best 5-inch studio monitors from the lesser competitors.
5-Inch Studio Monitors: Reviews
When looking at the best 5-inch studio monitors, it’s hard to pass by a Yamaha speaker. The HS5 is the smallest member of Yamaha’s HS studio monitor series. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t carry its weight with excellent sound quality and frequency response.
The Yamaha HS5, much like its larger brethren, focuses on sound quality, especially in high and mid-frequency ranges. If you work with bass-heavy music or sound compositions, though, the Yamaha doesn’t have quite the punch to manage it.
Nevertheless, its frequency response of 54Hz-30kHz is admirable and close to what you’d expect from a 5-inch woofer paired with a one-inch tweeter. In addition, the powered monitor uses a bi-amp design to help even out the frequency response across the entire range.
The build quality of the Yamaha is nothing short of excellent and is a testament to the company’s extensive focus on musical instruments and equipment. In addition, the use of premium materials in shielding and boarding ensures that these studio monitors can withstand a bit of force.
The HS5 comes with two connection options, balanced TRS and balanced XLR. Note that you don’t get any cables with the speaker, so you’ll need to use an extra bit of budget to connect this monitor to the computer.
Additionally, note that the HS5 comes as a single monitor, further increasing your setup costs.
Overall, the Yamaha HS5 is an excellent beginner-oriented monitor that can match some professional-grade gear on a budget. Just note that it isn’t perfect, and the total cost can be pretty high when you account for all the required bits and pieces, two monitors, and an optional subwoofer with its own gear to handle the bass.
- Excellent mids and highs
- Stellar build and durability
- Great frequency range
- Struggles with bass a bit
JBL Professional 305P MKII
JBL is another household name in the music equipment industry. Their products are typically well-balanced between quality and price. For example, the 305P MKII is an excellent entry in the best 5-inch studio monitors category due to its sleek design and superior performance in lower frequencies.
JBL tried to maintain a solid studio monitor quality while working with a lower budget on the second iteration of the 305P. As a result, the sound quality of this monitor is excellent, with satisfying highs and lows.
In addition, it has a great frequency response range (49Hz-20kHz) and fares well with low bass, which is typically the sore point for smaller woofers. However, the 305P MKII struggles to balance the mid-to-low frequencies, distorting some passages slightly and providing a less-than-accurate response while mixing.
The manufacturer paid great attention to the build quality and longevity of the 305P MKII, with sturdy outside components and durable internal mechanics to provide a solid monitor lifetime. The monitor is a bit larger than similar-spec models but is light and can be easily put on a table or holding shelf for easy setups.
There’s not much to say about connection options since there are only two, TRS and XLR. You get no cables with the monitor. The 305P MKII is sold as a single monitor, so factor the need to buy two of them in your budget if you’re worried about cost.
However, this is one of the more affordable monitors to set up in this size range regardless of the fact, partially due to a solid bass performance that might forgo the need for a subwoofer in some situations.
- Good low-frequency performance
- Decent budget-friendliness
- Great value and durability
- Lacks balance in low-mid frequencies
- Hisses on lower volumes
PreSonus Eris E5
PreSonus Eris studio monitors come in many varieties, with most lower-end models specifically designed for home studio and less professional work. However, don’t be put off by these designations, as this monitor line packs excellent value in a small and inexpensive package, making them worthy of consideration for the best 5-inch studio monitors.
Sound quality is by far the most critical talking point for any studio monitor. The Eris E5 delivers solid performance within its frequency range, but nothing worthy of high praise, except when considering its price.
With a decent overall frequency range of 53Hz to 22kHz, you get plenty of room to play with, even if a subwoofer is needed to reach the lower bass 5-inch woofers struggle with.
Speaking of woofers, the Eris E5 has a slightly larger 5.25-inch one, which slightly nudges it in the direction of value and provides that extra bit of oomph in the low and mid frequencies. But, ultimately, the E5 is a near-field monitor that won’t produce deep bass in a home setup due to the studio size and inherent non-stereo design.
The E5 doesn’t fall behind in build quality despite its lower price tag, with a solid and sturdy build and great electrics inside. It’s also light enough to place on most shelves without a hitch and is easy to move around if it needs more tuning.
In addition, the casing is shielded to prevent interference with other devices, although it isn’t perfect, where proper cable management and device placement are needed to avoid hissing.
PreSonus equipped the E5 with the three most standard connection options: TRS, XLR, and RCA. Unfortunately, the included RCA cable is not great, so consider swapping it with a high-quality cable for better performance.
- Solid performance
- Good tuning and connectivity options
- You get what you pay for
- Not great with bass
KRK Rokit RP5 G4
KRK monitor designs can be found even in professional studios, so it’s no wonder one of their models landed on our best 5-inch studio monitors list. The Rokit RP5 G4 is an excellent choice for aspiring DJs looking for something intermediate at a low price.
The sound quality of the fourth-generation Rokits has only been slightly improved over the third generation, with similar problems still plaguing the RP5. As a result, the monitor tends to color the sound more than you might expect from a studio monitor but is still far above what any headset or traditional speaker will deliver.
The broader frequency response range (43Hz to 40kHz) isn’t representative of what the Rokit RP5 can achieve since it tends to punch the bass a bit more than other monitors. This quality is something some DJs appreciate as it lines up with traditional speaker systems more, which means its value is heavily based on user preference.
The tweeter has been improved and doesn’t sound so pronounced, with a flatter response.
The Rokit RP5 looks similar to other KRK models, and the build quality doesn’t stray from the manufacturer’s standards. The G4 introduces Kevlar drivers for both woofer and tweeters in the entire line, which improves durability and performance when implemented properly.
Unfortunately, the cabinet isn’t the best insulation, so use some pads to help it out.
The smartphone app accentuates Rokit’s connection and tuning capabilities for quick, remote changes and optimal speaker placement based on studio size and soundproofing treatments.
The app also allows you to quickly convert the studio monitor into a traditional loudspeaker by boosting the lows for an added punch. In addition, the RP5 G4 has an XLR and TSR port on the backside, which is perfectly serviceable with high-quality cables (not included) and interfaces.
- Great sound quality
- Broad frequency response range
- Stellar customization options
- A bit on the pricier side
- Not as well-balanced
Behringer Studio 50USB
The Behringer Studio 50USB speakers are the only pair on our best 5-inch studio monitors list, which you should consider when looking at the cost and specifications. This budget-friendly monitor setup is a great choice when you need a good balance between performance and price.
The 50USB’s sound quality is more focused on delivering excellent midrange. However, the tweeter also works well for higher frequencies, with an overall decent frequency range of 55Hz to 20kHz.
Note that the highest frequencies can get a bit scratchy at high volumes, but that can usually be tuned out with proper EQ. The bass is always the worst struggle for smaller woofers, and the 50USB doesn’t make strides in this regard. As with most setups, a subwoofer will usually do the trick.
The build quality of the 50USB is nothing to write home about, but the essential sturdiness, sealing, and protection are all there. The cable connecting the passive and active monitors is incredibly short and could be a bit better. The unique port of the cable means it’s going to be a struggle to find a replacement.
As it stands, the speakers work best in near-field because you’ll have problems placing them to cover a large room anyway. The speakers are incredibly light, making them easier to transport and increasing their value slightly if you’re on the road a lot.
Other connections are slightly better, with the option to support USB, XLR, and TSR simultaneously, allowing for quick switching between platforms. USB is the best way to connect the speaker to the PC for optimal hiss-free sound.
Overall, the 50USB sits somewhere in the middle, but its value comes in solid components and a decent price tag.
- Decent sound quality
- USB connection option
- Good mid-range frequency performance
- The connection cable is short
- Middling build quality
There are very few wrong answers if you’re looking for the best 5-inch studio monitors since the differences usually boil down to user preference.
However, our top choice is the Yamaha HS5. Even though it’s a bit pricier compared to other monitors, the sound quality it delivers comes very close to professional-grade speakers. In addition, it has the best frequency response and a good balance between highs and lows.
If your budget is a limiting factor, JBL Professional 305 MKII is an excellent pick that won’t disappoint you. With a bit of fine-tuning, it can make for a dependable studio piece.